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About resistant starch

about resistant starch
It’s amazing that even now we are finding out more about the foods we eat and their effects on the body. Most recently resistant starch (RS), has been highlighted as providing some great health benefits. This about resistant starch post will help describe what it is, it’s potential benefits and how to get it into your diet.

What is resistant starch?

Resistant starch is a carbohydrate and essentially a form of fibre that can help improve your health.

RS as its name implies is resistant to digestion. It doesn’t get digested in the small intestine, but passes through to the large intestine where they get fermented by bacteria in the gut. This fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). One of those SCFA’s is Butyrate, which feeds and protects our colon cells.

Why is it healthy for you?

Eating the right type of carbohydrates can have great benefits for you, while eating the wrong type can actually lead to health issues. Most good carbohydrates digest slowly, most bad carbohydrates tend to digest quickly.

As RS is resistant to digestion in the small intestine, there is no release of glucose, therefore has little to no effect on blood sugar levels. The resistant starch then gets fermented by good bacteria in your gut and makes lots of good compounds for the body to use, while at the same time increasing the numbers of good bacteria and reducing the number of bad bacteria.

Here is a list of some of the potential benefits of increasing resistant starch in your diet:

  • Lower bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Speed up your metabolism
  • Suppress appetite and make you feel fuller
  • Help with weight lose and reduce body fat
  • Reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Improve insulin sensitivity
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Help blood flow
  • Increase heart health
  • Improve your immune system
  • Remove toxins
  • Increase mineral absorption
  • Help produce vitamins
  • Create a healthy gut with improved digestive health with more good bacteria and less of the bad

Resistant starch foods

There are different types of RS:

RS1 (seeds, nuts, legumes, pulses, peas, whole grains).

RS2 (raw potatoes, corn starch, maize, green bananas, raw fruit and vegetables).

RS3 (this is where some RS1 and RS2 foods are cooked, cooled, and sometimes can also be reheated at low heat to increase the RS levels and typically also includes breads, pasta and potatoes).

RS4 (chemically modified processed food which includes some types of bread and cakes for example, not ideal).

There are others, but are not covered for the purpose of this article.

Interestingly the method of cooking can have an effect on the level of resistant starch. Most forms of cooking seems to be better than boiling your carbohydrates, such as steaming, pressure cooking,  baking and stir frying. Cooling the food after will increase the resistant starch even further.

Many of these foods will also retain their higher starch content when gently re-heated. Note: any re-heating needs to be done at a very low temperature.

Examples of resistant starch foods:

  • Banana (green)
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • Various beans
  • Whole grains
  • Frozen peas
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Legumes
  • Plantains
  • Yams
  • Rye bread
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Sourdough
  • Cold pasta (cook and let cool down)
  • Cold potato (cook and let cool down)
  • Cold rice (cook and let cool down)
  • Hi maize
  • Raw potato starch
  • Pea starch
  • Green banana flour

How much resistant starch should I eat?

On average most people only get around 3-10 grams per day, when ideally you may get more benefit with between  20-40 grams per day.

If you want to level out your blood sugar, add some to your breakfast in the morning. This can give you the added benefit of a lower blood sugar level throughout the morning and well into the afternoon.

You should also look to increase resistant starch gradually (about a month period), as a large increase can cause additional flatulence and bloating, although this should reduce over time as your body slowly removes the bad bacteria that causes this embarrassing side effect.


I wanted to add just a small caveat to this article. Like most things in life concerned with health whether that be working out or eating, people tend to latch onto the latest trend and so called scientific findings. Just remember the most important thing in any diet/nutritional plan is to eat a well balanced diet and not get hooked up on one specific area. Try to get a good mix of healthy carbs, fats and protein at most meal times and keep a balance to your healthy lifestyle.